NCDP Clips for Wednesday, February 18th, 2015
Tweet of The Day
Lawmakers get weather-delayed start Wednesday (WRAL-TV) — House budget writers are scheduled to take up a bill making changes for the coal ash management commission and the group rewriting the state’s academic standards Wednesday.
NC Lobbyists Can Now Screw Pols Legally (Daily Beast) — North Carolina government officials who are having secret sex with lobbyists need fear no more: The state’s ethics commission has decided such illicit relationships are completely fine. Yes, what could go wrong? The Valentine’s Day issued opinion, which is almost romantic if you can get past the legal jargon, essentially says that your body is a temple and sharing it with anyone else is a priceless gift—emphasis on priceless: Sex has no value, according to the commission, and so it doesn’t need to be disclosed.
POLICIES & POLITICS
WNC sees only small share of job incentives money (Asheville Citizen-Times) — State economic incentive money has flowed mostly to large urban areas and largely bypassed Western North Carolina and other mostly rural areas of North Carolina, two recent reports say. Of the $662.2 million in Job Development Investment Grant funds the state awarded to companies promising to bring jobs to the state in 2002-13, $12.8 million went to projects in WNC. The funds, which went to projects in Buncombe, Henderson, McDowell and Yancey counties, amount to 1.9 percent of the total awarded. No other WNC counties got any money.
Biden and Foxx to visit Charlotte Thursday (Charlotte Observer) — Vice President Joe Biden will come to Charlotte Thursday with Transportation Secretary – and former Mayor – Anthony Foxx.
Appellate court limits NCDOT’s power to reserve land indefinitely (Raleigh News & Observer) — An NC Court of Appeals ruling in a Forsyth County case gave hope Tuesday to southern Wake County property owners who have been barred from developing their land since the 1990s because it lies along North Carolina’s preferred path for a future extension.
Scott Walker Is King of Kochworld, Popeville (Bloomberg Politics) — The relationship between the Kochs Brothers and Wisconsin Republican Gov. Scott Walker was cemented during Walker’s bitter war against public unions that led to a recall election in 2012. During the tense weeks of standoff at the capitol in Madison, it was the Kochs’ tea party troops who provided the main counterforce to the tens of thousands of union activists protesting the governor, in a battle Walker eventually won. … This year, the relationship may evolve in unpredictable ways. With three tough statewide election victories under his belt, Walker, 47, is poised to pursue the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. The Kochs have pledged to marshal some $900 million to spend on a fight for the presidency, and although they may not wade directly into the GOP primary muck, their ties to Walker appear stronger than to anyone else considering a run. …. In late 2012, Walker strode onto stage at a hotel in Washington, where several thousand AFP national donors and activists rose to their feet to greet him and give him an award for his work to curb union power. "Maybe consider this being the most valuable player in the nation for the advancement of freedom and prosperity," said then-AFP Foundation Vice Chairman Art Pope, as he gave Walker a bust of George Washington.
Lt. Gov. Dan Forest launches specialty license plates (Raleigh News & Observer) — Lt. Gov. Dan Forest needs at least 500 people to sign up for “I Support Teachers” license plates, part of his effort to fund teacher raises through private donations. Forest announced last May that he’s creating the North Carolina Education Endowment Fund, which will allow individuals and corporations to receive tax deductions for supporting teacher pay. The fund also plans to raise money by selling specialty license plates, but Forest must first reach the state’s requirement of 500 paid applications seeking a plate.
DSS chief placed on 30-day administrative leave (Wilmington Star-News) — DSS board Chairman Jonathan Barfield said the decision was a personnel matter and he wasn’t at liberty to discuss it.
Robeson County may have violated state law in approving incentives (Fayetteville Observer) — The Robeson County commissioners’ decision not to disclose the company may have run afoul of the state’s open meetings law. The vote violated the state’s transparency laws, according to Amanda Martin, a Raleigh-based lawyer for the North Carolina Press Association, because the Robeson County Board of Commissioners considered a specific incentives package without properly identifying the company.
McCrory, NC officials warn of road conditions, bitter temps (AP) — Gov. Pat McCrory is warning motorists in North Carolina of treacherous road conditions later this week as extremely cold temperatures would freeze or re-freeze what has already fallen.
FOOD STAMP APPLICATION PENDING?:Bank of0 America CEO’s pay falls to $13M (Charlotte Observer) — Bank of America chief executive Brian Moynihan pay was cut $1 million, to $13 million for his performance in 2014, as the bank struggles to boost its profitability.
Vaccine offered to restaurant patrons after hepatitis A case (AP) — Mecklenburg County health officials are offering vaccine clinics for people who visited a Charlotte restaurant where a worker was confirmed to have a case of hepatitis A.
Iconic Norman Rockwell painting donated to museum (AP) — One of Norman Rockwell’s most recognizable works has been donated to the museum dedicated to his work. "Boy and Girl Gazing at Moon (Puppy Love)," originally painted as a cover illustration for an April 1926 Saturday Evening Post, was given last week to the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. Bill Millis, of High Point, N.C., bought the original in 1975 for $27,000. It’s now worth an estimated $4 million.
SCHOOLS & UNIVERSITIES
Snow days cutting into spring break for Triangle students (Raleigh News & Observer) — This week’s snow days will cost many students in Wake County and across the Triangle part of their spring break or upcoming Saturdays to make up for the lost time after winter weather closed schools for two straight days.
College, Poetry and Purpose (New York Times column) — Rushed thinking and glibness are precisely what University of Pennsylvania English Professor Anne Hall believes education should be a bulwark against. She’s right. … Her field is Renaissance poetry. I studied that and Shakespeare’s plays with her when I was an English major at UNC-Chapel Hill in the mid-1980s. … I was curious to know what the professor who was the highlight of my time in college thought of college today. … while she applauds the attempt to engage students and diversify instruction, she worries about an intellectual vogue and academic sensibility that place no one masterpiece, master, perspective or even manner of speech above others. … Her own answer about college’s mission: “It is for developing the muscle of thoughtfulness, the use of which will be the greatest pleasure in life and will also show what it means to be fully human.”
Ash spill could cost Duke Energy $100 million (Charlotte Observer) — Duke Energy says the payment would settle a grand jury investigation of criminal charges following its 2014 coal ash spill into the Dan River. A court would have to approve the settlement.
Duke Energy in $100 million settlement talks over federal grand jury investigation (Charlotte Business Journal) — Duke Energy expects to file what will likely be a $100 million settlement in the federal grand jury investigation into the massive coal spill on the Dan River last year.
ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
Hundreds attend public meeting on drilling off Carolinas (AP) — An Obama administration proposal to allow offshore oil and gas exploration drew hundreds of people to North Carolina’s coast Tuesday for two meetings: one where federal officials gathered comments, and another where drilling critics rallied to voice their opposition.
NC Citizens Want to Put Freeze on Offshore Drilling (Public News Service) — With its 300 miles of coastline, North Carolina has a lot at stake when it comes to the health of the Atlantic. It’s why government, environment and business leaders are joining together to voice their concerns over the Obama administration’s recent announcement.
Duke Energy scouts out 50 MW of solar in N.C. (PV Magazine) — Duke Energy has issued a request for proposals for up to 50 MW of solar PV capacity across the state as it seeks a continuation of its recent pro-solar portfolio expansion policy. Duke Energy’s Green Source Rider program – approved at the end of 2013 – will manage all new solar projects commissioned, and enable Duke Energy Carolinas customers to supply new electricity load with renewable energy.
McCrory doles out incentives, but results are lacking (Raleigh News & Observer) — So generous has Gov. Pat McCrory been with the Jobs Development Investment Grant program, or JDIG, that he says the fund is depleted and the General Assembly must provide funding for a refurbished program to be called N.C. Competes. … The logic behind companies’ arguments for incentives is simple: Show us the money and we show you the jobs. However, a new report shows that the incentives program has failed to deliver too many times.
A fine mess at UNCG (Greensboro News & Record) — If the goal at UNC-Greensboro had been to clean house in the school’s University Relations office, it did so not with a broom, but with a wrecking ball.
Chapel Hill shooting victims left students with something to stand for (Raleigh News & Observer column) — Katherine Kehoe: For us as a student body at NC State, these days since Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha and Razan Abu-Salha died have been emotional and overwhelming.
Burr’s chances in 2016 will be tied to presidential campaign (Raleigh News & Observer column) — Republican Sen. Richard Burr’s re-election prospects next year could depend on how well his party’s presidential ticket fares in North Carolina. The state has a pattern of electing senators and presidents from same party.